Fitzpatrick, Jameson: Pricks in the Tapestry
Pricks in the Tapestry by Jameson Fitzpatrick (Birds, LLC; paperback)
Publication Date: June 30, 2020
I was not familiar with Jameson Fitzpatrick’s work before I read Pricks in the Tapestry, but I’m now a superfan. The character who emerges across the poems in this coming-of-age debut balances a self-critical and intellectually rigorous lens with humor and tender vulnerability I’ve never seen applied to questions of gender, whiteness, queerness, friendship, mental health, and class in quite this way. The poems themselves vary constantly in form and rhetorical mode, each one illuminating a new facet of the particular human character speaking through them, leading to a reading experience that feels dynamic and expansive in its specificity. A pleasure from start to finish.
In the old place, there was no place
that did not see me.
Wherever I went mothers whispered
about me like a Greek chorus:
“I heard that boy …” I heard that.
I was just a boy. But it was
true, what they said, that I liked
other boys, that I had stolen Sarah’s,
though he was four years older
and they were very much in love.
I made him break up with her
in a Chili’s parking lot
while I waited inside. I was
fourteen. How humbling
to have been fourteen, to have eaten
at that Chili’s, often. That summer
I had no taste for anything
but him. Faintly of chlorine.
When he left for college
I had no one. Sarah’s friends
stared me down at school.
I found it was better,
if I could not be no one,
to be someone. Small, but
particular. Specified, which was
an apprenticeship for special.
Cold, another word for cool.
"This book is a record of my thinking and feeling during my mid-to-late-twenties. Like any record, it is incomplete and imperfect—I do not always identify with the speakers of these poems, even as I recognize their speech (and sometimes, their desires) as my own. I think of this collection as a bildungsroman of sorts: the story of a young poet coming to know, belatedly and with difficulty, the insufficiencies of the self as a subject and the lyric as a mode."—Jameson Fitzpatrick